The Almond Alliance has been a voice for the almond industry with respect to advocating the impact of The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules. This has included numerous activities including meetings, testifying at workshops, submitting multiple rounds of comments and co-hosting tours at various almond operations including huller/shellers.
Almond Alliance of California (Almond Alliance) was vigilant in our efforts to work with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on minimizing the impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) to the almond industry. Almond Alliance provided fact-based data and comments in support of the industry directly to the FDA. Advocating that the almond industry has unique production circumstances and mandated protocol that reduces the presence of foodborne pathogens and should qualify for an exemption.
On March 27, 2019, FDA issued a final guidance document stating the agency’s intent to exercise enforcement discretion for the requirements of the Produce Safety Rule as they apply to entities growing, harvesting, packing and holding almonds. This means FDA does not intend to enforce requirements of the Produce Safety Rule for farmers and producers of almonds, as FDA considers pursuing rulemaking. Keep in mind this is in place while FDA “considers” rulemaking changes, which we will advocate to result in permanent exemption for almonds in the future. While FDA and California Department of Food and Agriculture are not actively enforcing the Produce Safety Rule requirements within the almond industry, we continue to encourage industry to always implement the best food safety practices.
This enforcement discretion gives much needed relief to almond growers, huller/shellers and processors. FDA has indicated that they intend to address the unique situation, currently implemented and enforced food safety procedures, of almonds through future rulemaking. The Almond Alliance will continue to advocate and provide the needed information to secure a permanent exemption.